Ubuntu 6.10 “Edgy Eft” Released

Yay, the latest version (( 6.10, codenamed Edgy Eft )) of Ubuntu (( using the Gnome desktop )), Kubuntu (( using the KDE desktop )), Xubuntu (( using the XFCE desktop )) and Edubuntu (( with support for educational institutions via thin client deployments and educational software )) has landed!

See the release notes for details of where to get it, what’s new, how to update an existing system and a required firmware update for Sun Niagra boxes to fix a Sun hypervisor bug that it can tickle.

DigiKam Rocks!

For about a week or so now I’ve been hunting down and importing all my digital photos I can still get my hands on and importing them into DigiKam. I’ve got to say I’m very impressed with it, I added the current version (0.80) via Achim Bohnet’s apt repository for KUbuntu (recommended by the digikam folks) and it’s just blown me away.

Hierarchical albums are no problem, as is batch renaming (with easily customisable formatting), RAW image conversion (using dcraw), transformations and even a really nifty fuzzy-match duplicate finder!

But the two most useful features are (for me) tagging and the automatic calendar of photographs.

Tagging allows you to have a hierarchy of tags, you get 3 starters of Events, People and Places but then it’s dead easy to create tags below those, and then more below them, and so on. So, for instance, one particular hierarchy goes Places->Australia->VIC->Melbourne->VPAC. When (in tag view) you click on a tag at a certain level you will see photos from that tag and any tags that are children of it, so in the example if I click on the VIC tag I get any photos tagged just as Victoria, as well as those tagged as VPAC, Melbourne or anywhere else below that point.

The automatic calendar of photos is just that, as you import photos the date associated with them is used to create entries in a calendar. By clicking on a particular month you’ll see all photos taken then, and individual days with photos are highlighted in bold. Clicking a day will show the photos from that particular day.

Helpful hint: Importing photos into DigiKam works best when you’ve got the EXIF “DateTimeOriginal” set to the time the photo was taken. Most modern digital cameras will do this for you, but if they don’t you can use tools such as ExifTool (a Perl program) to insert such data. DigiKam will also allow you to add/subtract years, months. days, hours, minutes and seconds from a selection of photos too.

Talking to a mobile from Linux

Fab – just figured out how to talk to my Motorola V525 from Linux.

The standard KDE bluetooth tools sort of work, but the v525 is notorious for not quite doing bluetooth correctly, and so whilst I could pair with the phone and do some rudimentary browsing of the services the phone offered I couldn’t get access to the address book or SMS messages.

So I went digging around and found KMobileTools which, after a bit of faffing about, worked!

The faffing about that was necessary was:

  • Rebuilding the source deb package for Ubuntu Breezy with KDE 3.5 RC1 (their package is built against Debian Sid)
  • sudo mknod /dev/rfcomm0 c 216 0
  • sudo ln -s /dev/rfcomm0 /dev/mobile
  • Find the MAC address of the phone by doing hcitool scan
  • Bind the phone to the device with sudo rfcomm bind 0 [mac-address]
  • Run kmobiletools

As people have pointed out, this would be so much easier with a wizard such as the one provided by K3B to configure CD/DVD burners, but given the software is at it’s pretty amazing!

So far I can access my phone directory, dial/answer/hang-up voice calls and send/receive/save text SMS’s (interestingly a PXT looks like a pathname on a server somewhere). There’s no access to files, but the developer is looking interestedly at the Motorola 4 Linux project which is aiming for remote filesystem access to Motorola phones.

KDE 3.5 RC1 First Impressions

Just upgraded my home Ubuntu with KDE box to KDE 3.5 RC1 and it’s looking pretty nice.

The main thing that jumps out is that Konqueror now passes the ACID2 test that most other browsers (including the latest RC’s for Firefox 1.5, previously called “Deer Park”). This is down to the excellent work that Apple have put in on their Safari browser for OSX which uses WebCore, derived from KDE’s rendering engine, KHTML. They beauty of open source is that Apple have been contributing their work back to the project, leading to these improvements in KDE.

But in general it just seems snappier and sleeker, tweaked, nicer and better – I guess the really radical changes are being lined up for the much anticipated KDE 4!